Some good-for-you foods can still be heartburn triggers. Say goodbye the 1 last update 29 May 2020 to this list of worst offenders and scoop up healthy, GERD-friendly alternatives.Some good-for-you foods can still be heartburn triggers. Say goodbye to this list of worst offenders and scoop up healthy, GERD-friendly alternatives.
If you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), you probably know to avoid common GERD triggers like fatty foods and alcohol. There’s a chance, though, that some healthy food choices you’re making could be fanning the flames of your heartburn. Foods that contribute to acid production in the stomach or that relax the muscle between the esophagus and stomach can be heartburn triggers, explains Chin Hur, MD, MPH, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston and director of gastrointestinal health outcomes research at Massachusetts General Hospital. If you believe anything else you’re eating might be a GERD trigger, Hur suggests keeping a food diary so you can track your symptoms and pinpoint all possible foods to avoid. But to get you started, we’ve rounded up the most common healthy foods to avoid with GERD — and some better-for-you substitutes to excite your taste buds.
GERD Trigger: Orange Juice
Starting your day with a big glass of orange juice will give you a big shot of vitamin C, but OJ is among the most notorious GERD triggers because of its high acid content. Consider switching to grapefruit juice, which surprisingly seems to cause fewer heartburn problems, Dr. Hur says. Or skip the juice altogether. “The key to tolerating citrus fruit is to eat small amounts at a time and choose the fruit instead of citrus juice,” advises Jeannie Gazzaniga-Moloo, PhD, RD, a lecturer in the family and consumer sciences department at California State University in Sacramento and a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
GERD Trigger: Tomatoes
Tomatoes and tomato sauce are rich in the cancer-fighter lycopene. But unfortunately for many people, the juicy red gems are among the foods to avoid with GERD. “Just like citrus fruits, tomatoes are quite acidic and can aggravate inflamed esophagus tissue,” says Kate Scarlata, RD, LDN, a dietitian practicing in Boston. To get the benefits of lycopene without the GERD trigger, try a juicy slice of watermelon instead, she suggests.
GERD Trigger: Peppermint
Heartburn Remedies Cause Acid Reflux (🔥 Acid Reflux) | Heartburn Remedies Treatmenthow to Heartburn Remedies for Peppermint tea can help manage irritable bowel symptoms because it helps relax digestive muscles, says Gazzaniga-Moloo. That’s the same reason that it’s on the list of foods to avoid with heartburn. In particular, she explains, peppermint relaxes the muscle that prevents stomach contents from backing up into the esophagus, resulting in acid reflux. If peppermint tea is a GERD trigger for you, Gazzaniga-Moloo suggests trying a decaffeinated or herbal tea, like chamomile. Ginger tea may be a more soothing choice as well, says Hur.
GERD Trigger: Fish Oil
Fish oil supplements may reduce your risk for heart disease, but they also can be an indigestion or heartburn trigger for some people, says Scarlata. She suggests getting your omega-3s by adding fatty fish itself, like salmon, to your diet — you may tolerate it better. Gazzaniga-Moloo offers up this tip for supplement users: Storing your fish oil supplements in the refrigerator and taking them chilled may help you avoid the “fish burp” that often comes with taking them at room temperature.
GERD Trigger: Vinaigrette
Heartburn Remedies Help Relieve (☑ GERD Diet) | Heartburn Remedies Naturalhow to Heartburn Remedies for Vinaigrette dressing is a favorite of many salad lovers, but it might be a food to avoid with GERD because vinegar can be a heartburn trigger. “Vinegar’s pH is quite low, a form of acid on its own, so it’s no wonder it can irritate inflamed esophagus tissue,” explains Scarlata. To sidestep this GERD trigger, try to limit the amount of vinegar you use or put together a healthy dressing with low-fat yogurt or buttermilk — it’s less acidic and likely to be better tolerated.
GERD Trigger: Raw Onions
They’re a healthy staple in many dishes and salads, but raw onions can do more than bring tears to the eyes of those with GERD. Onions are a common heartburn trigger because they stimulate acid. However, cooking the onions can help put out the fire, Gazzaniga-Moloo says. Shallots and green onions provide a more mild onion flavor, but they could still be GERD triggers for you. “Try them in small quantities and see how it goes,” she suggests. If you still have symptoms, add them to your list of foods to avoid with GERD.
GERD Trigger: Chocolate
Sorry, chocoholics. Although the antioxidants in dark chocolate or cocoa beans are believed to help lower heart disease risk, chocolate can be anything but sweet for those with GERD. Dark chocolate contains caffeine and other plant chemicals that can be heartburn triggers, says Gazzaniga-Moloo. Try treats like fresh berries, sorbet, or even angel food cake to satisfy your sweet tooth instead.